Nada Jawad and Jodi Wofford brought their Bruin spirit to the stage of “Idiotest” as they tested their wits against two USC Trojans.
“Finally being on the stage, and finally playing the game … was a real in-the-moment, in-the-zone thing,” Jawad said.
The two 2016 UCLA alumnae participated in a college-rivalry edition of the gameshow “Idiotest,” which will air Thursday. Friends since their freshmen orientation at UCLA, Wofford and Jawad competed against a team of two USC alumni in an effort to win the most money.
“Idiotest” consists of a series of brainteasers that contestants must answer quickly in order to earn money. In the end, the team with the most money moves onto a final round in which contestants can win $10,000, Jawad said.
The pair brought such cheer to the show that at times, Ben Gleib, the show’s host, said he wasn’t quite sure if they were both sober.
“Nada was very quick-witted and funny, in an off-kilter way,” Gleib said. “Jodi was just one of the most unique human beings I’ve ever seen. She was like a living puppet.”
The monetary reward was a factor in deciding to compete on the program, but Wofford’s past experience on CBS’s “Celebrity Name Game” made her realize she enjoyed competing on gameshows. During her second year at UCLA, Wofford and her mom competed on the show and won $3,000.
“It was my birthday and it was my one day off from school,” Wofford said. “It was just a great experience.”
A producer of “Celebrity Name Game” remembered Wofford from her appearance on the show and called her in November to find out if she would be interested in competing on another gameshow the next month. She accepted the request and brought her friend and roommate Jawad to the screening process, she said.
During the prescreening for the show, Wofford and Jawad said they completed tasks like group interviews and mock puzzles.
Orod Arbabzadeh, a USC alumnus and one of Wofford and Jawad’s competitors, said that the casting directors observed his and his partner’s enthusiasm when solving the puzzles.
“Most of it’s to see if you mesh well with your partner,” Jawad said.
Although she had never heard of the show when she was contacted about the audition, Wofford said once she and Jawad found out that they were picked to compete, they watched as many episodes of “Idiotest” as they could find online to figure out their strategy.
“We watched a lot of the game on YouTube and picked up the hang of it and sort of what not to do and what to do,” Jawad said.
The two did not know the USC alumni they were competing against prior to the taping of the show, Jawad said. Backstage, Wofford ended up sitting next to one of her USC opponents as they got their makeup done. She felt the tension as they glanced at each other, sizing up the competition, she said.
For the most part however, the teams were split up in different dressing rooms and the witty wordplay didn’t begin until they got onstage, Wofford said.
Arbabzadeh and his partner came up with onstage school-rivalry banter on the spot, he said. However, the producers did give them lines in case they froze up and couldn’t think of things to say.
“I pulled the classic, ‘A Bruin’s good forever, but a Trojan’s only good once,’” Wofford said. “Just silly stuff like that.”
Jawad said she struggled with overthinking problems that felt too simple at first glance. As she and Wofford prepared before the competition, Jawad noticed she got more questions wrong than she would have liked, so she felt she had to come into the game mentally prepared and conscious of her state of mind, she said.
“I think that the biggest problem was trusting our instincts,” Wofford said.
Although he wasn’t supposed to pick sides, Gleib leaned toward rooting for UCLA as a fellow alum of another University of California school, UC San Diego.
“It was awesome. We got to hang out, eat some free food (and) win some money … so it doesn’t get much better than that,” Wofford said. “We essentially got paid to play a fun game and meet cool people.”